This is the BEST Homemade Hot Chocolate recipe! Made with with simple, wholesome ingredients, this homemade hot cocoa is rich and velvety! Served with optional frozen peppermint whipped cream for a kick of peppermint flavor and a bit of magic.
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My Christmas lights are twinkling, carols are playing, the fire is crackling, and my favorite Christmas cookies are being pulled out of the oven.
That, my friends, is my definition of one of the favorite things about the Christmas season.
There is nothing that I love more than my family being gathered together on a chilly winter’s night, just taking in the magic of the season and delighting in some of our favorite cookies, warm from the oven.
For absolute perfection, hot chocolate must be served–complete with whipped cream mustaches–my family loves to giggle at the evidence of decadent treats on each other’s faces.
To complete my perfect winter’s eve, I love to make a simple and clean version of hot chocolate.
Homemade Hot Chocolate
My homemade hot chocolate is not a complicated recipe.
Just milk, cocoa, vanilla, maple syrup, and dark chocolate blended together to create a luscious drink fit for Santa.
It may be simple, but this version of hot chocolate is PERFECT–not to mention made with a whole lot less sugar than the majority of recipes out there!
How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate
- Chop quality dark chocolate into small chunks.
- Or use mini chocolate chips which do not need chopping.
- Whisk together cocoa, salt, and dark chocolate in medium saucepan.
- Slowly whisk in both milk and maple syrup.
- Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally.
- Once chocolate has completely melted and milk is warmed through, remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract.
Homemade Peppermint Whipped Cream
To take this hot chocolate from So good, to Oh my word, I like to top off my simple hot chocolate with frozen whipped cream that has been sprinkled with crushed candy canes.
As the cream melts into the hot chocolate, the drink becomes creamier and ever so slightly tastes of peppermint. It is divine. Not to mention, a bit magical for kids to watch their cream dissolve into their hot chocolate.
Do not be intimidated by the Frozen Peppermint Whipped Cream–it is REALLY easy.
- Whip heavy cream (be sure to buy one with just pure cream, no fillers like carrageenan)
- Place into a sandwich bag.
- Snip the corner off the bag and swirl into little mounds onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Sprinkle each whipped cream mound with crushed peppermint and then place in freezer until solid.
- Transfer to a freezer safe bag, so you can pop out one or two of my hot chocolate toppings as needed.
This Hot Chocolate with Frozen Peppermint Whipped Cream is just what your holiday season needs to be made a bit sweeter!
How to Make Dairy-Free, Vegan Hot Cocoa
- To make this Hot Chocolate Dairy-Free, use Enjoy-Life Dairy Free Chocolate Chips and either non-dairy milk (I personally love coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk) and for the whipped cream, use canned full-fat coconut milk to whip up for whipped cream.
- Use Sugar Free Mom’s Dairy Free Whipped Cream recipe for troubleshooting tips on whipping coconut cream.
- Use Vegan Candy Canes for the whipped cream. These Candy Canes are also naturally colored and free of corn syrup.
How to Make Paleo Hot Chocolate
- Most Paleo Diets allow SOME amounts of sugar. Therefore, using Enjoy-Life Dairy Free Chocolate Chips can be considered Paleo.
- However, if you are strictly following a NO PROCESSED SUGAR diet, omit the chocolate chips and just use cocoa powder.
- Use non-dairy milk (I personally love coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk) and for the whipped cream, use canned full-fat coconut milk to whip up for whipped cream.
- It would be up to your discretion to use Candy Canes or not. You could simply add 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract to hot chocolate mixture for a peppermint taste.
Tips for the BEST Homemade Hot Chocolate
- The crushed candy canes sweeten the whipped cream perfectly, but if you like extra sweet treats, you can add 1/4 cup powdered sugar once with cream is slightly stiff and then finish whipping to stiff peaks.
- Don’t omit the salt. It helps the flavors shine in sweet treats.
- Feel free to use chopped chocolate instead of chocolate chips.
- If you would like to have your Hot Cocoa base also taste like peppermint, you can add 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract to the recipe when you add in the vanilla extract. Peppermint Extract is very strong, you don’t need more than a tiny amount!
More Winter Beverages
- Easy Mulled Wine
- Slow Cooker Mulled Cider
- Peanut Butter Coffee
- Coconut Milk Eggnog
- Cranberry Mimosas from the Blond Cook
- Cranberry Orange Spritzer
- Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate from Joy Food Sunshine
Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe
Homemade Hot Chocolate with Frozen Peppermint Whipped Cream
- Peppermint Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 tablespoons crushed candy canes about 4
- Hot Cocoa:
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- dash of salt
- 1 ounce dark chocolate chopped finely
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 4 cups milk any variety
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For Whipped Cream:
- Beat cream until stiff peaks form. (Do not add sugar--hot chocolate is sweet enough.) Transfer cream to a quart size baggie. Snip edge of bag, and pipe out cream onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper, into the shape of mounds. Alternatively, you can just scoop small tablespoons onto parchment paper. Sprinkle with the crushed peppermint candies and put into freezer until solid (about 1 hour).
- For Hot Chocolate:
- Whisk together cocoa, salt, and dark chocolate in medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in both milk and maple syrup. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Once chocolate has completely melted and milk is warmed through, remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract.
- Serve with Frozen Peppermint Whipped Cream
- You do not need to freeze the whipped cream, but it is so fun to watch the frozen cream melt into the hot chocolate. Plus then you can freeze extra whipped cream to have when the craving for hot chocolate hits.
- Nutrition values are based on hot chocolate alone made with almond milk.